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Navigating the Uncertainty: Rethinking the Relationship of Law and Science

It is now well known that limiting the warming of the planet to 1,5°C by the end of the century will require some degree of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and marine CDR technologies have emerged as a potential solution to mitigate climate change. While marine CDR can be piloted domestically, its maximum efficiency requires international coordination due to transboundary effects. However, the current international legal framework, including the UNFCCC and its descendants, lacks a dedicated regime for CDR, resulting in a plethora of potentially applicable sources of law with different answers on the legality of CDR. Emphasizing the challenges and necessities of coordinating CDR activities on a global level, this presentation addresses the unrealistic optimism of current law to over-rely on clear cut answers from natural sciences. It will explain how the traditional approach of the law needs to be revised to adapt to the scientific realities of climate action. This analysis should provide a reflection on the need for a wider societal debate to solve “trade-offs” issues that lawyers alone are not in a position to solve.


Tony Cabus1
1CAU Kiel, Germany
GeoBerlin 2023